May 27, 2014, 7:21 AM —
I’m a Java developer with strong database skills and have been working on the same types of software development projects for a long time. How can I use these skills to work in different ways so I can work on something new?
Thank you for your question. You have a great skill set and should be very proud of yourself. The combination of programming and database skills are not only a wonderful combination from a software development perspective, it also has the potential to pivot you into other technical areas.
From a programming perspective, your Java skills can potentially be used to move you in the following directions:
• Big Data: Hadoop MapReduce is an expanded version of Java, as are various other Big Data oriented technologies.
• Instructing: There are many technical professionals of all skills who have made the professional decision to move from practitioner to teacher. As an additional item, your database knowledge would make you more versatile because you could also provide instruction in the database area.
• Business Analyst or Project Manager: If you have a strong understanding of a specific business area, for example accounting systems, enjoy working with business users and/or running projects, consider moving toward a Business Analyst or Project Manager role. Also, your strong technical background would be of great value because of your understanding of the issues facing software developers.
• IT Manager: If you are thinking of moving into the management ranks, now may be a good time to consider it. That way, you can still be involved with software development activities, but will not have to do that actual hands-on development.
• New application type: By your email, I don’t know in what specific area you have been programming. Whatever area it was, consider pivoting your technical skill to move to a new application area. For example, if your programming work was financial services oriented, try to move to health care type applications. In the short term, until you gain some health care business experience, it will be harder for you to find work in the health care arena than in your current industry. Once you have gained experience in your new industry you will be on your way.